It's hard to imagine cinnamon rolls without that classic white icing, but there are plenty of delicious and easy homemade cinnamon icing and frosting recipes out there that you can make without butter or powdered sugar. Here's a list of Healthy Cinnamon Roll Icing and Frosting ideas, from Greek yogurt frosting to pureed sweet potatoes, that are better for you and even have great health benefits.
NOTE: This list focuses on healthier icing / frosting recipes for cinnamon rolls. For more traditional icing ideas, check out PART 1 of my icing series!
This thick-bodied syrup may be just as sweet as white icing, but honey has several nutritional benefits that refined white sugar does not have like higher vitamin, mineral, and prebiotic content. Antioxidants in honey such as phenolic compounds can help fight free radicals in your body and offer inflammatory and immune-boosting benefits. Honey also has a lower glycemic index than white sugar, which is better for managing your blood sugar levels.
There are many different varieties of honey, ranging from different colors, tastes, smells, and textures, but if you want to get more health benefits, try Manuka honey. It's well known for its antimicrobial and antiviral benefits, and helps to naturally boost immunity.
- Customization Ideas: try different kinds of honey, like whipped honey or raw honeycomb. If you don't have honey, you can also try other syrups like maple syrup or molasses.
2. Drippy Nut & Seed Butters
In my opinion, cinnamon rolls are plenty sweet without the extra sugar in the icing. For those who agree, why not drizzle some almond butter on top of your cinnamon rolls instead of icing? The nutty almond butter provides a deep roasted flavor and extra nutrition to the rolls, and if you don't like almonds there are many other nut butter options to choose from like cashew butter, pistachio butter and pecan butter.
Here's a tahini-drizzled version, below
3. Ricotta & Honey
Creamy and fluffy, ricotta cheese paired with honey and pistachio nuts is one of my favorite sweet bread toppings. Traditional Italian desserts use this pairing all the time, on toasts and piped inside their cannolis.
4. Strained Greek Yogurt
Creamy thick and tangy, Greek Yogurt is now a popular breakfast option for people wanting something quick and easy, consume more protein, and stay fuller longer. It's also a great cinnamon roll topping! For best results, be sure to strain or squeeze out excess liquid from the Greek yogurt container before use.
5. Sweet Potato Frosting
Here’s a Healthy Vegan Almond Butter Frosting recipe that’s made with almond butter and cooked sweet potatoes. The almond butter provides a deep, nutty flavor while the sweet potatoes provide the sweetness and form the bulk of the frosting. It’s a softer, less buttery frosting recipe so it won’t have the same texture as traditional frosting–but it’s a perfect frosting alternative to add to if you’re following a low calorie or low carb diet.
Chocolate version, below! Made with cooked sweet potatoes, cocoa powder, sweetener and coconut oil, this chocolatey frosting recipe is creamy, thick and actually quite filling thanks to all that fiber from the sweet potatoes.
6. Peanut Butter
If you love spreading peanut butter on your breakfast toast as I do, you'll love this idea of spooning some pb on your cinnamon rolls. High in dietary fiber, nutrients and protein, eating peanut butter is a great way to start the morning and get your day going. For a sweet and salty take, try using honey peanut butter and sprinkle some crunchy pretzel pieces on top!
7. Custard (Pastry Cream)
Inspired by custard-filled donuts, these cinnamon rolls are served with a dollop of custard or pastry cream. The creamy, pudding-like texture of the custard is just perfect with the soft and fluffy rolls and adds a subtle eggy, vanilla flavor. And it's also much healthier than the traditional cinnamon roll icing and frostings since custard is primarily made of eggs and milk.
For the custard pic below, I used my shortcut microwave custard recipe), but if you want you can also use vanilla pudding, too! Just pipe huge dollops of the custard or vanilla pudding on top of the rolls and enjoy!
8. Almond Yogurt Frosting
Made with just 2 ingredients, vegan yogurt and powdered almond butter, this is one low-fat frosting recipe you can enjoy straight from the spoon & guilt-free
9. Orange Marmalade
Sweet, sticky and sweet, I love to pair orange marmalade and cinnamon rolls. I love serving these citrusy rolls with black tea or strong coffee. If you're feeling a bit fancy, you can also stir in a teaspoon of cognac or Cointreau orange liqueur in with the marmalade before using.
- Customization Ideas: instead of orange, try grapefruit or citron marmalade. You can also use other fruit preserves like fig jam or strawberry preserves.
10. Fresh Strawberry Frosting
This frosting is pretty and pink, but also low fat, low carb and under 50 calories per serving! Light, creamy and flavorful, this Strawberry Greek Yogurt Frosting is made with unsweetened Greek yogurt and pureed strawberries.
11. Seed or Nuts
Add extra texture with seeds, dried fruits and nuts! This is something you can do for any of the frosting recipes here. Incorporating healthy add ins is an easy way to increase the nutrition and flavor of these cinnamon rolls.
- Customization Ideas
- Nuts – chopped walnuts, pecans, cashews
- Seeds – hemp seeds, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseeds or chia seeds
- Dried Fruit – chopped apricot, raisins, cranberries, dried cherries, candied ginger, citrus zests, etc.
12. Powdered Peanut Butter Frosting
This low fat, high protein Peanut Butter Powder Yogurt Frosting is incredibly easy to make and only needs 3 ingredients peanut butter powder, greek yogurt and sugar. It’s a perfect guilt-free frosting recipe you can use that won’t derail your diet.
chocolate version, below
Need More Cinnamon Roll Icing Ideas?
Here is my post for 10+ Easy Homemade Cinnamon Roll Icing & Frosting Recipes
----------> GO BACK TO PAGE 1 (10+ icing recipes)
Healthier Cinnamon Roll Icing & Frosting
- 1 honey
- 2 nut or seed butter of choice , like almond, cashew or tahini
- 3 ricotta cheese, honey and pistachio nuts
- 4 Greek yogurt
- 5 sweet potato frosting , click on link to go to recipe
- 6 chocolate sweet potato frosting , click on link to go to recipe
- 7 smooth peanut butter
- 8 microwave custard (pastry cream) , click on link to go to recipe
- 9 vegan almond yogurt frosting , click on link to go to recipe
- 10 orange or citron marmalade
- 11 Fresh Strawberry Frosting , click on link to go to recipe
- 12 seeds or nuts
- 13 Powdered Peanut Butter Frosting , click on link to go to recipe
- 14 Chocolate Powdered Peanut Butter Frosting , click on link to go to recipe
- click on the links of the ingredients to go to the recipe (if available)